WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Police arrested a 14-year-old girl, charged with stalking and sexual assault with ruse, for pretending to be a boy.
The relationship began a year and a half ago on the Internet. At the time, the victim was 13 years old; the girl now charged with assault was 12.
Police say the 12-year-old wanted a romantic relationship with the victim, so in 2009 she posed as a boy on Facebook to get closer to the victim.
The two traveled in the same circle of friends in Woodbridge. But on Facebook, the 12-year-old tricked the victim into thinking she was a boy and friended her. The accused then arranged dates with the victim.
Police in Prince William County, Va., say the 12-year-old would wear wigs and dress up in boys’ clothes during their meetings.
The teens met several times without the victim knowing the person she was meeting was female. Police say the victim thought a boy was interested in her, and she followed up on that friendship.
When the victim’s parents got involved, they told the accused to stay away, but police say the girl continued to contact the victim by creating new Facebook profiles with other boys’ pictures.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt physically,” Officer Erika Hernandez of Prince William County Police says. “But it is disturbing that someone so young is coming up with these ideas and preying on other girls.”
Hernandez can’t say how many other girls were contacted, but the defendant created multiple profiles and contacted middle school and high school girls within the county through Facebook.
“The most important thing is parents need to pay attention to what their kids are doing,” Hernandez says.
Police say the suspect faces two misdemeanor charges including stalking and sexual assault by ruse. Each charge could mean up to a year in jail.
Both girls are now 14 years old.